Easter is a widely-observed annual celebration commemorating the resurrection of Christ. For many people, Easter has become the one time of the year they attend church services. The word Easter is only found one time in the English translation of the Bible and there it is a mistranslation. The King James rendering of Acts 12:4 used the phrase “intending after Easter.” The original is simply after the Passover. The word Easter now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honor of the resurrection of the Savior. The word translated Passover, and the one used in Acts 12:4 means “a passing over” and is used with reference to the Jewish festival of Passover which was celebrated on the 14th of the month Nisan. This same word is used in Matthew 26:2 ff; Mark 14:1; Luke 2:41; 22:1; John 2:13, 23 and other places, and in every instance is translated Passover in the King James Version, except Acts 12:4. More recent versions correctly use the term Passover in Acts 12:4. It is absurd to think that Herod Agrippa I wanted to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The Scripture says that he “laid hands on some who belonged to the church, in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. He proceeded to arrest Peter also” (Acts 12:1-3).
There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians. The apostle Paul warned against the observance of feast days, new moons, etc. (Gal. 4:10-11 f; Col. 2:16-17). In apostolic times Christians commemorated the Lord’s resurrection every Sunday, by meeting on that day for worship (Acts 20:7).
Let no one imagine that we oppose the resurrection of Christ. It is the bedrock of Christianity and the deity of Jesus rests upon it (Rom. 1:4). Christians today meet every first day of the week, as did the early Christians, to observe the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7). The first day of the week is a memorial to the resurrection of Christ. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ serves as the form of an individual’s death to sin, burial in baptism, and resurrection to walk a new life as a new creature in Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4 ff; Rom 6:3-11; Col. 2:12).
Conclusion: Easter, like Christmas, are secular holidays and are without the expressed authority of God! Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God” (1 Pet. 4:11). Let us learn not to go beyond that which was written (1 Cor 4:6).
“Easter Sunday” I sought to find;
Through the Bible I searched a lot,
And though I’m not blind,
Try as I did, I could not.
I turned many Bible pages
Hunting for the “Easter Holiday,”
But all I found were sin’s wages
For adding to God’s holy way.
I am not trying to be “cute,”
Nor to be simply funny,
But with error to refute,
I may as well have looked for the Easter Bunny.